helenmh · 27/06/2004 14:21
We are thinking of going east and doing something fairly adventurous. The travel agent has suggested sri lanka which we hadnt thought of. We would hope to go for 3 weeks and see some wildlife combined with a nice beach. Our kids will be 11 ans 13 and we would be looking at school holidays. Any tips on the island , any recommendations of hotels. Any info at all would be great
neetsmassi · 27/06/2004 15:06
We went before DD (1998) - it is beautiful but travelling around takes a long time. If you go try and do the elephant orphanage - we didn't and I really regret it. What will the weather be like then? Also - check on home office website to make sure that government are not advising against going - there have been problems there in the past and as you are going with children you don't want to take any risks. If you do go I am sure you will have a wonderful time - there is loads to do and visit and it's really beautiful.
victoriapeckham · 27/06/2004 15:54
been three times, last time this feb. my favourite country on earth.
Colombo, v dull capital city., don t bother staying more than night or so. You must stay in old fading grandeur of Galle Face Hotel. Give yourself at least three hours in Barefoot, it is fabulous shop for souvenirs - always take extra suitcase for purchases here.
Kandy is lovely but don t stay in town, stay in hills above, loads of B&Bs, get lonely planet guide. elephant orphanage is not just tourist thing, it s v special. yr kids will love it.
Travel either by trains (v cheap and way of meeting folk ) or you can get a private driver and mini bus for $30 for three hour journey.
Bentota: for luxury and glamour stay in Club Villa hotel. It is sensational, by sea, gorgeous decor. Glam boutique hotel but not ridiculously expensvie and we took boys of 8 & 6.
Yala: try safari here. you won t see as much game as africa but elephants for sure.
In three weeks you could also go to the temple towns in north - Sigaria is best. You could rent driver from kandy and go between them wouldn t be too expensive.
My tip: book flights (Sri Lankan Air is much improved and lovely service) then ring to book accommodation separately, no need for package. Try deckchair.com for flights. Do book hotels ahead tho as best things get taken and it is quite a small country.
Don t go in summer too hot and also monsoon. best time between dec and april.
With children you can t travel too much as it will be draining cos of heat and humidity. Although we did five places in fortnight, kids luckily turned out to be v resilient travellers.
Metrobaby · 27/06/2004 16:01
srilanka is lovely helenmc. My cousin and her family from there are over this week so I will ask her latest recommendations on hotels and places to visit.
What I do know though is that the beaches are gorgeous. Do try and get to see the fabulous sunsets. Everything is very very cheap out there. Weather is stifflingly hot though so it is essiential that your hotel has air con. It is also worth paying for a car and a guide for a few days to take you around the island. It isn't that expensive iirc and is a great way to see several of the sights at once.
A visit to the tea plantations are interesting, abd it is much cooler in the mountains so will come as a welcome respite from the heat too. Elephant orphanage is great. You can volunteer to wash the baby elephants . There is also a turtle sanctuary in the South that is worth a visit too.
Shopping - there is a T-shirt shop called Odel which does a great selection of T-shirts and a lovely jewellery place called Stone n String. Both are in Colombo.
Will post more later ...
helenmh · 28/06/2004 11:17
Thank you so much neetsmasi, Victoria peckham and metrobaby for all your really helpful advice.Sounds like somewhere we would all love. I look forward to hearing your cousins tips metrobaby.
Metrobaby · 28/06/2004 11:28
Another tip is to make sure that you cover every spare bit of exposed skin with mosquito repellent day and night as they are rife over there.
pollyanna · 28/06/2004 11:32
We went when ds was 3 and dd1 was 18months. It is my favourite place I have ever been too - would love to go back. We went to 3 places, Kandy, a place in the North (will try to remember what it is called -the hotel was called Habarana Lodge ) and the beach south of Columbo. We did day trips from each of those places - sigiria, the elephant sanctuary, Galle. We went with Kuoni and found them really good - the driver who did our transfers stayed with us all the time (it was too far for him to go back to his home each time) and took us out every day. would definitely recommend it!
CountessDracula · 28/06/2004 11:38
I would def. recommend it too - we went in 1998ish and adored it.
Can recommend the Galle Face too, really lovely.
Also the Kandalama hotel is amazing, looking out over Sigirya, lots of naughty monkeys on the balconies to amuse the kids. V Close to Dambulla (amazing caves full of rock Buddhas, worth seeing.)
The Hill Club is the most hilarious place to stay in Nuwara Eliya, very proper and more English than the English!
Yala is good. Beach wise Bentota is nice, Unawatuna good if you want to get away from big hotel vibe, we stayed in a beautiful italianate guest house there. Hikkaduwa was ruined by the time we went, used to be cool hippie place but looked vile so would steer clear.
The train up to the hills is really great. As someone said it costs no more really to hire car with driver vs hire a car yourself.
neetsmassi · 28/06/2004 11:52
Pollyanna - interested to see that you took two young ones - my dd is 4 and I was a bit apprehensive about taking her - DH is desperate to go again. Were there many other children there when you went? (Sorry to hijack your thread helenmh!)
helenmh · 28/06/2004 11:52
thanks for your tips pollyana and countess dracula. It definetely sounds like our sort of place. Sounds like we might need to look at easter rather than summer which may mean we go for a bit less time
pollyanna · 28/06/2004 12:32
We stayed in the Kandalama Hotel too - v nice.
Neetsmassi - we didn't see any children as young as ours (well, not English ones), but there were other children of say, 7 upwards. (there weren't many tourists there at all when we went though as they hadn't signed the ceasefire then).
We didn't have any health problems at all with our 2, they ate the food with no complaints - not spicy food, but at all the hotels we stayed in they had rice, and pasta and loads of fruit. They had no problems with the heat either. ds was really interested in all the buddhist monks and the temples as well as the more child friendly elephants, monkeys and beach. The only downside for us was the 11 hour plane ride - and that was more of a problem with dd1 who was 18 months. Also, I think 4 would be a bit young to walk up to Dambulla and Sigirya (sp?), but dh carried ds up and he isn't particularly strong!
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